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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

FEAR NOT, FOR I AM WITH THEE

Genesis 26:24 And the Lord appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for My servant Abraham's sake.

The message of the lesson text was given by God to Isaac as he dwelt in the land of Gerar. In the first verse of this chapter, Isaac had left Beer-sheba, due to a famine, and went to dwell in Gerar. While there, the Lord blessed Isaac. He sowed in the land, and received in the same year a hundred fold (Vs. 13), and he waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great; for he had possessions of herds, and great store of servants (Vs. 13-14). This passage is followed by: and the Philistines envied him. Enmity had long existed between the Philistines and Abraham. Now that enmity was renewed with Isaac. It is evident from the next few verses that there was much strife between the two factions, primarily over the ownership of water wells. In order to avoid conflict, Isaac finally moved back to Beer-sheba.

It is because of the continual struggle with the Philistines that Isaac moved his family, household and possessions back to his home in Beer-sheba. No doubt this was a trying time for Isaac - a time when he needed encouragement. It was at this point in Isaac's life that God appeared to him with the reassurance noted in the lesson text. Isaac was told to fear not, for I am with thee.

Fear is an emotion that we all experience from time to time. In general, it is the scary feeling or anxiety caused by the presence of danger, pain or helplessness. Or it could be just the thought of its presence - a fearful apprehension. Fear can result in depression, the loss of courage, even terror and panic. Fear, in this sense, is not a pleasant emotion; it can be extremely harmful and possibly lead to self-destruction.

Fear possessed Jacob when he returned to the Promised Land and was about to meet his brother Esau. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children (Genesis 32:11). Adam was full of fear when God called him in the Garden of Eden. Adam replied, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself (Genesis 3:10). The dream, which Nebuchadnezzar had, made him afraid (Daniel 4-5). The mariners on the boat going to Tarshish, with Jonah aboard, were afraid when the tempest arose (Jonah 1:5). After God smote Uzza, David was afraid of God's wrath as the ark was being carried from the house of Abinadab back to Jerusalem (I Chronicles 13:12). These, and many other instances, can be found in the pages of the bible, telling how fear fell on various individuals.

Just as God told Isaac, many other biblical characters were told not to fear or be afraid. A few are listed here. Abram (Abraham) was told by God fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward (Genesis 15:1). When the armies of the Canaanite kings came out against Israel, God told Joshua, be not afraid because of them: for tomorrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel (Joshua 11:6). Joseph was told by an angel of God, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 1:20). During the storm that took place on his journey to Rome, an angel of the Lord told Paul, fear not Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.

Fear comes to all of us. At various times in our lives something has happened to make us afraid. As a child, it could have been the darkness, imaginary monsters, or the apprehension of punishment from a parent for disobedience. As a young adult, it may have been due to a pop quiz on the day after you failed to study, the anticipation of your first date, entering the military, your first job or even marriage. As a mature adult, it may have been the home you purchased, changing jobs, facing a serious illness or even the anticipation of death. Or maybe it could be the thought of an eternal heaven or hell - life after death. All can be traumatic and cause fear. How do you cope with such fear? The answer is going to God in prayer - seeking Him.As God told Isaac in our lesson text, God will comfort you with the same words - fear not, for I am with thee. He will be your God and your Heavenly Father. He will protect you, guide you and help you overcome all obstacles of life if you will be obedient to his will and seek him in troubled times. Go to God in prayer. You are his child. He will never abandon you, and that's His promise.